Geography and the Book of Nature: The Natural World in Transition, 1300-1600


Conference dates: 14-15 July, 2007

As the critical re-assessment of the medieval/early-modern divide is gaining pace, the resilience and pliancy of existing conceptual models of the natural world and humankind’s relation to it will be put to a test. Novel lines of inquiry into the changing modalities of reading the Bible raise questions about how God’s “other book” was received: to what extent were late-medieval readings of the natural world – as the Book of Nature – subjected to the new hermeneutics of reading Scripture? Does the apparent compatibility of verisimilitude in art with traditional allegory yield insights into the changing perception of the natural world? How do map-making and the nascent discipline of cartography address the relationship of humankind with nature?

To facilitate a conversation of ideas, we would welcome papers that pursue these and other questions across and beyond the fields of literary studies, art history, cartography, and history.

Scholars engaged in research on any of the above-mentioned topics are invited to present a paper.

Papers will be 20 minutes long. The proceedings of the conference will be published; the organisers reserve the right to select papers for publication. The deadline for submitting abstracts is 31 December 2006. Abstracts, not exceeding 300 words, should be addressed to: Maik Goth, Sebastian Sobecki, or Luuk Houwen, Chair of Medieval English Language and Literature, at: book-of-nature-2007 at

Please provide a working title for your proposed paper, contact details, and your institutional affiliation.

The venue for the two-day conference will be the historical town of Hattingen (Stadtmuseum at Blankenstein). Situated between two castles, Hattingen possesses more than 140 half-timbered houss and is one of the best-preserved late-medieval towns in the West of Germany: The conference will close with a period meal in the 13th-century castle of Blankenstein.



Information on accommodation, travel, and nearby sights will be added shortly.


Ruhr-Universität Bochum
Geography and the Book of Nature Congress
Department of English
Ruhr-Universitaet Bochum
Universitaetsstr. 150
44780 Bochum Germany
telephone +49 234 32 28 518
fax: +49 (0)234 32 14 746